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Richard Sherman coming across like a petulant brat

Michael Dixon
Richard Sherman

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is a lot of things. On the field, if he’s not the best corner in the game, he’s on a very short list. Off the field, he’s an intelligent man with a well earned Stanford degree. Unfortunately, Sherman too often shows another side of himself.

A petulant brat.

Sherman’s most recent incident came when he threatened to ruin the career of 710 ESPN Radio host and Seattlepi columnist Jim Moore.

Moore was questioning Sherman’s antics on the sidelines with coach Pete Carroll. The exchange got testy and as he was walking off the stage, Sherman bluntly told Moore, “You don’t want to go there. You do not. I’ll ruin your career,” per Stephen Cohen, Seattlepi.com.

When questioned further, Sherman said “I’ll make sure you don’t get your media pass anymore.”

The aforementioned outburst with Carroll came when Sherman was questioning the decision to throw the ball on the one-yard line against the Los Angeles Rams.

For Sherman (and no doubt most Seahawks players and fans), it was a little too reminiscent of the decision to throw on the goal line at the end of Super Bowl XLIX. Of course, Malcolm Butler intercepted that pass, and the New England Patriots escaped with a victory.

Prior to his exchange with Moore, Sherman was asked how he’d feel if an offensive player questioned a defensive play call.

“If we had done something like a zero blitz in the Super Bowl and got bombed for a touchdown to lose the game, then I’m sure we’d be understanding of their reason,” Sherman said.

At face value, it’s a valid point. Seattle lost the Super Bowl when Butler intercepted Wilson’s pass. But a deeper look shows that Sherman may be experiencing some revisionist history.

Like most people, I remember Super Bowl XLIX. I remember watching that game and thinking that a Seahawks victory was all but assured. Only, I had that feeling when Doug Baldwin caught a touchdown pass to put Seattle up 24-14 late in the third quarter, a lead the Seahawks would hold until roughly halfway through the fourth quarter.

But on New England’s final two drives (not counting victory formation), Tom Brady was 13-for-15 for 124 yards, two touchdown passes, no interceptions, and a 140.7 passer rating. The Seattle defense was not burned big on one play. It was systematically torched. Wilson’s interception didn’t cost the Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX. It failed to bail out the vaunted defense, which had choked the game away throughout the fourth quarter.

So, the notion that the defense is beyond criticism for the loss to the Patriots is completely false.

Now, if this was just one incident, Sherman could be cut a little slack. But Sherman has also called a bad year for the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton “karma,” (read about that here) in an apparent response to Newton throwing a Seattle 12th Man Flag away following Carolina’s victory over Seattle in last year’s NFC Divisional Playoffs.

That sounds good, but is Sherman really the right source for that? The Seahawks and especially Sherman have gained a lot of notoriety since 2012 for being an incredibly brash team. Was Newton throwing a flag away worse than Sherman’s rant against Michael Crabtree following Seattle’s NFC Championship victory over the San Francisco 49ers?

Was it worse than him saying that Pierre Garcon “doesn’t matter in this league?”

Sherman is a very thoughtful guy. His comments regarding African-American deaths at the hands of police officers show that. His community work shows that, as does his sharp comments regarding Thursday Night Football. 

But he is brash. He’s brash on the field and he takes that brashness off of the field. When someone is as brash (and as good) as Sherman, he’s going to get criticized. When someone takes a strong stance on something or does something as public as argue with his coach on the sideline, he’s going to be questioned and criticized for that, as well.

That’s fair game. If Sherman doesn’t want his actions on the field to be scrutinized, then he shouldn’t such a big personality. Maybe he’d argue that the personality he exudes is who he is. And that without his personality, he may not be as good on the field. If so, that’s fine. But a football player — or any public figure — can’t be so brash and simultaneously so sensitive to criticism.

Sherman may not be a petulant brat, but he’s spending a lot of time acting like one. This most recent incident is another in an increasingly long line of them.